Praise God for Rock Bottom!!

So who in the world can be so joyful about hitting rock bottom? Me. That’s who. And perhaps people like me, who have overcome (with the help of Jesus Christ) depression, suicidal thoughts, and addiction. Nobody wants to hit rock bottom. Most work hard to try to avoid it. The problem is that most try under their own power and strength. It’s a losing battle. I know. I spent decades fighting that battle all by myself. I didn’t want anybody’s help. Especially a God I didn’t know. Satan loves it when we insist on fighting the battle on our own. He knows we grow weary and give up. Some of us choose suicide. Some of us choose the bottle or some other sort of chemical addiction.

Satan loves to use these destructive things in our lives to give us temporary peace. It’s the only way he can keep us captive. He loosens the chains just enough to allow us to think we’ve got everything under control, and when we are getting a little too comfortable, he yanks us down into the pit deeper and deeper.

Well, I never thought I’d be able to say that I am thankful that I was hitting rock bottom in 2010. Had I not hit rock bottom, I would have never discovered the power of THE Rock at the bottom. Yes, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My chains are gone. Thank You, Jesus! I love Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Is anybody out there ready to let Jesus set you free? What are you waiting for??!! I am grateful that I finally chose to let the light of Jesus shine in my darkest places! I have never been so alive.

Lord God Almighty, I pray for others out there who are trying to avoid rock bottom. I pray something significant happens so that they’ll stop battling. I pray they reach You like I did because it seems to be the only way we finally see that we need to surrender ALL to You so You can set the captive free. Thank You that You are there waiting for them to come to You at this very moment. Thank You that You meet us right where we are. Lord, when they come to You, I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that You will begin an amazing work in them and their life will be changed forever. Show us Your glory Lord, we want to see Your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ♥

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

The Light Shines in the Darkness

I have chosen to never walk in darkness again and I am GRATEFUL!

A Lost Alcoholic Woman’s Quiet Way to Die

I read a heart wrenching story this past December and I have been holding on to it all this time waiting for the right words and the right time to share about it. I guess it’s time. The Lord has been stirring my heart on this extremely difficult and painful subject so here I go again…

This article entitled “A quiet way to die” was about a fairly young woman, who three years earlier at the age of 39, died a horrible and lonely death. Her name was Julie Kroll. A documentary was made featuring her story and four women in the documentary share their shame, hoping they might help another alcoholic woman deal with hers. The name of the film is “Lipstick & Liquor, Secrets in the Suburbs.” In this article, the filmmaker states it’s a pretty film with pretty people. She explains that’s deliberate. Her film shows attractive, successful middle-class women who also had a problem. The article said: “The villain in the film isn’t Kroll, it is alcoholism and the damage the disease does, Kroll is just the haunting example…”

I have not seen the documentary yet, but I am glad it was made. People need to hear these stories. There are a lot of women out there who seem to have it all together. Most people would never be able to guess that they have a problem. I was one of them. I think that is why this article touched my heart the way it did. This article and documentary are focused on how harshly society judges addicted women. But to me, addiction is addiction. It doesn’t discriminate. So my heart goes out to all men and women who suffer any type of addiction.

Julie’s story truly broke my heart. The article stated that she went to pick up her 8 year-old daughter after school in Virginia. Apparently, she had been drinking and lost her way. After a minor crash, she left her daughter behind and stumbled away into the dusk with no coat, purse or phone. She vanished. She had a prior arrest on the suspicion of drinking and driving and the police viewed her as a fugitive. A friend of hers stated that the police didn’t think Julie was worth looking for. They thought she was on the run or hanging out in a bar somewhere. There was a blizzard that made search parties unsuccessful. Her husband pressured the police to help. Tragically, thirteen days later when the police finally searched for her, her body was found in a ravine just 300 yards from her car. The article stated that death came from alcohol, blunt-force trauma and exposure.

Every time I think of what Julie’s friend said about how the police didn’t think Julie was worth looking for, I break down and cry. How heartbreaking that must be to God. I understand how the world works—some people are just considered not worth spending any time on.  But that’s not how I feel. I believe every single lost soul is worth finding. And I know without a doubt, that so does the Lord.

Many people do not reach out for help and I pray that they start sooner than later. Nobody should die like Julie did. I pray someone out there will be motivated to take that very difficult step and ask for help and get into a recovery program. But even more important than that, I pray that something in Julie’s story, the documentary, or even something shared from my own heart will get someone to reach out to the Lord like they’ve never reached out to Him before. Recovery programs are great. Sponsors and friends who understand this problem and help us to stay on track are a blessing.  But I believe with all my heart that getting sober and staying sober is impossible without the Lord’s help.

When I was reaching bottom, I hadn’t fully surrendered to the Lord yet. Not all areas of my life, anyway. I am realizing more and more now, that the Lord started to reach me before I fully surrendered. He had to have been doing something in my heart because when I look back, I remember talking to Jesus every week even though I didn’t really know Him. I would say, “Okay Lord, I will not buy the alcohol this week. I will not stop at the store on my way home from work. I promise.” Yeah right. When I was just a weekend drinker, I would tell myself that I wasn’t going to buy booze for the weekend. But it never failed. I broke my promise every week. At the end of the work week, what was I doing? Yep, I was buying my supply for the weekend, which was quite the supply for one person. Life was hard and I drank hard so I could forget about it for a while.

I know now that I was foolish to ever think I was actually in control and that I could stop when I wanted to. Oh, how wrong I was…almost dead wrong. God changed everything and I am grateful. In just two days, I will be 47 years old and because of God’s wonderful miracles in my life, life has barely begun for me. In just three days I am celebrating three years of sobriety and there is no way that would be possible without the Lord’s power in my life. I encourage anybody struggling out there to reach out to God and get into a recovery program. I highly recommend one that keeps Christ in the center of it.

Someone out there needs to hear this message. If you know someone who is struggling, will you please share it?  No matter who you are or what you have done, don’t believe the lies. GOD SAYS YOU ARE WORTH SAVING. Call out to Him and He will meet you right where you are and your life will be changed forever. Coming from someone who not too long ago was looking for a quiet way to die because I was believing the lies, I pray my testimony will help you find hope and that you will believe that you are worth it and believe through God ALL things are possible.  God loves you so much.

Thank you and may God bless you all. ♥

A true story of healing: I prayed with faith that God would heal me and here’s what happened…

This story is long, but I believe every bit of it is worth sharing because it’s a wonderful testimony of how awesome God is. I pray people will read it and be encouraged by it. What God did for me, He can do for anybody—if only more people would believe it and pray with such faith. I want the world to know how great He is. Ever since I opened my heart to Him and gave Him my life, incredible miracles like in this story have taken place. I hope it blesses someone.

This past Thursday, I was scheduled for an out-patient surgery. A while back (I’ve shared about it in an ealier post), I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT). Lately, I have been having a reoccurring problem so I was scheduled to have an SVT Ablation to correct the problem (second time in seven years). In layman’s terms, the cardiologist punctures a hole in the groin to enter veins that lead into the heart with a catheter. He is looking to cauterize abnormal extra nerves that cause the heart to beat rapidly. That’s a short version and the easiest and best way I know to describe it.

I am so amazed at how God moved this time, He started the moment I arrived at the hospital. A medical assistant greeted me and took me inside to a nurse “Cathy” who started to prep me for the surgery room. I honestly was dreading going through this procedure once again because it was such a horrible experience the first time around. What I didn’t think about at first was that I didn’t have God in my life back then. I didn’t know Him. I didn’t pray to Him, I didn’t thank Him for getting me through it. I was so lost, depressed, alone, an alcoholic, suicidal, and filled with fear. I am so grateful to God for changing all of that—I am so not who I used to be!

Cathy was so kind. I saw something special about her, but I wasn’t sure what it was until I started speaking with her. It turned out that she had Jesus shining brightly through her, it didn’t take me long to figure that out. She took such good care of me. She kept bringing me warm blankets because she knew I was so cold. She knew I’d rather be somewhere else. Every single time I have had to be in the hospital and have needed an IV, it never failed that I would become a human pin cushion. I have veins that roll and it is always so painful. I would end up with many painful bruises from failed attempts. It never mattered when I told them that they would have a hard time. But, this time was different. Cathy thanked me for the “heads up” and placed a warm blanket on my arm. And, like it was nothing, she immediately found a good vein and the only pain I felt was the initial pinch. That was amazing! That never happened before, and I was so thankful!

I had asked Cathy about the recovery time from the procedure. I told her that all I cared about is that I don’t miss church on Sunday because I sing with the praise team and choir. She responded with: “Oh, you won’t miss church. In fact I highly suggest that you don’t miss it!” I loved hearing that! That just opened doors for both of us to open our hearts and share. It was like we were close friends already. She asked what church I attended, I told her all about my wonderful new church (Hope Center of Christ) and how we came about. She was familiar with our pastor and had heard about our church and as we were speaking, she said she was getting the “Holy goose bumps.” She was so happy to hear all that the Lord is doing. That was such a special moment for me. The more we spoke about how great God is, our eyes kept tearing up. I have been in the hospital more than I have ever wanted to be and I have never experienced that with anyone before. Cathy told me that every person in that room was a believer—many born again Christians. They all blessed me so much that morning. There was so much love in that room. I felt like I was with my own church family. I immediately felt that God’s hand was in that. I believe that being surrounded by loving Christians for the first time in that kind of setting was no coincidence. God made that happen. It felt as though He sent His angels there to take special care of me. He gave me His amazing peace. Cathy’s job with me was finished and as I was being rolled off into the surgery room, she stopped them and gave me a big sisterly hug. That was the last I saw of her…I will never forget her.

Being in that extremely cold surgery room was unnerving. Five to six people were all preparing me for the ablation. They were sticking all kinds of cold pads all over me with cables sticking out that were going to be hooked up to monitors. It was all happening so fast. I was having flashbacks from the first time seven years ago. They kept me awake for the procedure at that time which I believe is sadistic! This time, the cardiologist told me I would be put to sleep and wouldn’t feel a thing. Thank You, God! There I was lying on this table, shaking from being so cold, and then they put an oxygen mask on me. It felt like the soft gel type and someone was pressing too hard on it, I felt like I was suffocating. I had to move their hand from my face. I was starting to feel a little fearful. I remember that the anesthesiologist told me he was starting and that I might feel a slight sting in my IV, but I never felt it. I remember trying to breathe and trying not to be scared. I remember the last words that I was able to speak into that mask and they were “Jesus, I need You…” That’s the last thing I remember. Suddenly I was asleep. Minutes later, well more like an hour and a half later, I was waking up. I overheard someone talking about my procedure. They said that the ablation wasn’t done. “What????” I was thinking to myself.  I was wondering if I had heard correctly since I was still kind of out of it. They said it ended up being an Electrophysiology Study. The reason why it became a study and not an ablation is because there were no abnormal nerves to cauterize!  I was still waking up, but I found myself crying tears of joy when I realized that God had answered prayers for healing! I am so grateful for the prayer warriors who had been praying for me and I specifically asked the Lord to heal my heart and to have the cardiologist confirm the healing. I prayed and believed that when the procedure was done that he would find nothing there and that’s exactly what happened! God is so good!

I am in awe of how God moved that day. Everything…every little detail ran so smoothly. It couldn’t have gone any better. I couldn’t have been more blessed. The Lord’s presence was so strong. Even my recovery this time around has been wonderful. No complications. Soon, I’ll be back to normal. And you can be sure that I will be singing His praises in church this Sunday! I believe that everything that happened in the hospital was only possible with God. I didn’t have Him seven years ago, but I have Him now and I will never let Him go. I am grateful to know that He will never let me go either.

In this past year alone, I have learned to pray powerfully and I have learned to pray with the faith that God can do anything. I pray in the name of Jesus and I believe that when I pray for healing that it will be done. I have been healed physically more than once this year. God is the God of miracles! I believe that with all my being. I am so grateful that I didn’t give up on God. I hope more people will be encouraged to pray with this kind of faith. Imagine all that God can do with that!

No matter what, I will always pray with the faith and belief that God will heal. Even if the healing doesn’t come, I won’t give up. I turn every challenge into an opportunity to grow closer to Him. My faith is so strong. I pray for His will to be done. I will always believe in His miracles. He has been so powerful in my life in this short time I’ve been walking with Him and I want more people to experience His power like I have. I pray He uses my life to help people learn to grow closer to Him. I know that once He reaches them, they will never want to go back to the way they were and that is so exciting to think about.

Thanks for taking the time to read this story. I hope you will think it’s worth sharing with someone who may need some hope and encouragement to never give up on God and to pray with faith and the belief that He can do anything…because He can. My life is proof of that!

To God be the glory. Amen. ♥

“My name is…” (Yeah, I want the world to know the great things God has done!)

It has only been six weeks, but I am finally starting to get used to beginning with those words when I speak every Friday night in a small group at Celebrate Recovery. I am thankful for the additional Christian friends that have been cultivated already. The Lord is really blessing me. I am grateful the Lord led me to this program where I can help make a difference and also be blessed by people who understand exactly what I have gone through. We worship the Lord together, hear an incredible testimony of God’s grace or a teaching for the first hour, and then we break into specific small groups and share our hearts with each other for the second hour. There’s an opportunity for another hour afterward for everyone to gather once again and continue to fellowship.  It is quite wonderful.

When I first started getting sober in 2010, I stopped going out with friends who enjoy drinking socially. I had nothing against them, it’s just that I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to put myself in situations that might tempt me to take another drink. As time went on, I was getting stronger. I had gone out a couple of times to meet up with friends and I was feeling strong enough to be around alcohol, but honestly, I was never comfortable being around it again. I simply still prefer not to be around it at all if I can help it. I had to make many changes to do what was right for me to stay on the right path. That meant that I had to stop doing things with people who enjoy social drinking. I decided to be home most weekends. I find joy when I am working on things for ministry, that’s where my heart is so I keep myself busy with it. I love growing closer to God. Staying home weekend evenings has been a good thing for me, but it also started to feel like it could be a bad thing. Good because it helps to ensure my sobriety, but bad because I started to feel like I was in isolation once again. That’s when the enemy likes to strike so I realized that I needed to be more careful with that. I don’t want to take any chances of opening the door to depression again. This is part of the reason why I decided to start attending CR, to get myself out of isolation. CR is definitely a safe place for someone like me to be.

This past Friday night, as I was headed home from a wonderful evening at CR, I was driving on the freeway and started having flashbacks of the times I took incredibly dumb chances with driving home intoxicated. I had tears streaming down as I was driving, it was the gratitude that I had inside. I was thanking the Lord as I was driving, for His miracles in my life. How I managed to escape getting into an accident or arrested each time I drove, I will never know. Only God knows. All I do know is how grateful I am that the Lord has completely transformed my life and is using all the ugly stuff from the past for His good purpose. I regret putting people’s lives in danger. I have learned to stop beating myself up over that. I can’t change the past. It is not easy to publicly admit what I used to do, but I do it because I pray that it will help someone else open their eyes and realize what they’re doing if they’re taking the same chances that I used to. I believe I was running out of time. I was running out of chances, and if I didn’t change soon, I am sure it all would have caught up with me. It always seems to for people headed down the wrong road. I think I just witnessed that in the last couple of weeks.

The freeways sure look different at night through sober eyes. I remember being so paranoid when I used to drive home after a night of drinking. Yet, it wasn’t enough to stop me from doing it. I don’t know why, I guess I was pretty lost then and didn’t care. I was just too numb inside to care. Now when I find myself on the road at night, which isn’t very often, I am at complete peace. It feels so good to be sober. It’s interesting how the tables have turned because I now have to watch out for drunk drivers. It is scary out there! The last two Friday nights, I have seen the aftermath of two automobile accidents.  One of them I know for sure was a drunk driver and I can only guess on the other one. That could have been me just a few years ago! I thank God that nothing ever happened. I thank Him for forgiveness and for second chances in life.

I felt I needed to put this out there and encourage anyone who is struggling from substance abuse to do something about it before you run out of time. Join AA, join CR, do whatever it takes. Surround yourself with people who know what you’re dealing with because they’ve walked in your shoes. I love being surrounded with Christians at CR.  I feel safe there. There’s so much love because Jesus is there with us. The most important thing of all is that you surrender to the Lord Jesus. Nobody can break their chains without Him. I believe that with all my heart because nothing was going well in my life until I gave Him complete control of it. Don’t keep taking chances like I did, it is not worth it. There is so much to lose. Those two accidents I just saw, I am sure those people who got into trouble are wishing they could go back and do things differently.

The Lord has shown me that my sobriety of almost three years gives hope to others who are desperately seeking sobriety for themselves. I love CR because it is Christ centered and we cannot do anything without His help. We can try and we may have success for a little bit, but it doesn’t last. Nothing good lasts if we don’t keep Jesus in the center. I surrendered it all to Him, and He rescued me. He has turned my life around in ways I never could have imagined. I have had to work hard, but I am not complaining. I am FREE. I am not in jail. I am no longer in the enemy’s chains. I didn’t die like he wanted me to—he sure had me convinced that I would be better off dead. Thankful that Jesus showed me a better way. I won’t stop sharing His wonderful miracles in my life, I really do want the world to know about Him!

We’re celebrating Veterans Day this weekend. I am truly grateful to ALL for their sacrifices so that I can enjoy freedom in this country. But freedom in Christ is even better than that. I am eternally grateful to the Lord for my wakeup call as difficult as it was to go through. That wakeup call literally saved my life. Today, I am free in Christ and I will not take that freedom for granted.

So, I’ll end with this:  “My name is Debs. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ…thank you for letting me share.”   In Christ’s love… ♥